The regulation of oxytocin and oxytocin receptor in human placenta according to gestational age

Seung-Chul Kim, Jae-Eon Lee, Seong Soo Kang, Hoe-Saeng Yang, Sun Suk Kim, Beum-Soo An
Journal of Molecular Endocrinology 2017, 59 (3): 235-243
Oxytocin (OXT) is a peptide hormone that plays a central role in the regulation of parturition and lactation. OXT signaling is mediated by OXT receptor (OXTR), which shows species- and tissue-specific expressions and gene regulation. In the present study, we examined the synthesis of OXT and OXTR in human placenta tissue according to gestational age. A total of 48 placentas were divided into early preterm, late preterm and term groups depending on gestational age, and expression of OXT and OXTR was evaluated. First, OXT and OXTR mRNA and protein were detected in normal placenta tissue via Q-PCR, Dot-blot and Western blot assay. Both OXT and OXTR levels in normal placenta increased gradually in the late stage of pregnancy, suggesting that local OXT may play a critical role in the function of the placenta. To determine the regulatory mechanism of OXT, placental BeWo cells were administrated estrogen (E2) or progesterone (P4 ), and expression of OXT and OXTR was tested. The mRNA and protein levels of OXT and OXTR were upregulated by E2 but blocked by co-treatment with P4 In order to confirm the estrogen receptor (ESR)-mediated signaling, we administrated ESR antagonists together with E2 to BeWo cells. As a result, both OXT and OXTR were significantly altered by ESR1 antagonist (MPP) while moderately regulated by ESR2 antagonist (PHTPP). These results suggest that OXT and OXTR are controlled mainly by E2 in the placenta via ESR1 and thus may play physiological functions in the human placenta during the late stage of pregnancy.

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